Boris Johnson has been accused of hypocrisy after it emerged he pumped out 21 tonnes of CO2 in just two weeks flying on his billionaire friend's private jet while lecturing about climate change.
The prime minister travelled more than 1,200 miles on JCB tycoon Lord Bamford's jet in the fortnight leading up to May's local elections.
At least two more journeys were made in the businessman's helicopter, according to The Sunday Mirror.
Boris Johnson has been accused of hypocrisy after it emerged he pumped out 21 tonnes of CO2 in just two weeks. Pictured: Johnson exiting a private helicopter in Wolverhampton in May
The prime minister travelled more than 1,200 miles on JCB tycoon Lord Bamford's jet in the fortnight leading up to May's local elections (pictured together last week)
If he had travelled by train, Johnson would have used up a fraction of the CO2, while a car would take a year to produce the same emissions as the £47million Gulfstream jet spews out in just one hour.
It comes as the prime minister prepares to welcome global leaders to Glasgow for the Cop26 climate summit.
Last month, he called on his UN counterparts to 'blow out the candles of a world on fire' and tackle climate change together in a powerful speech in New York.
Greenpeace's chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said: 'Prime Ministerial actions have consequences far beyond those of any Hollywood star or royal, and Prime Ministerial hypocrisy is deeply corrosive of public trust.'
The flights on the Gulfstream G650 jet would have released around 21.2 tonnes of CO2, the third of a person's annual emissions.
The flights on the Gulfstream G650 jet (pictured) would have released around 21.2 tonnes of CO2, the third of a person's annual emissions
To offset those journeys alone, 130 trees would have to be planted.
On the polling day for the local elections, Johnson appeared virtually at Germany's Petersberg Climate Dialogue where he urged leaders to propose more than 'hot air' to help prevent climate change.
He said: 'I'll be seeking commitments from the G7 members to use their voices and their votes, wherever and whenever possible to support the transition to net zero (carbon emissions), kickstart a green industrial revolution, and build economies that withstand whatever our changing climate throws at us.'
But the day after he stepped on to a private helicopter to open a Coventry school then boarded a private jet to the North East after the by-election win in Hartlepool.
The flights were declared as donations in kind to the Conservative Party, with estimated costs of £40,254.71.
The revelations are also likely to embarrass Johnson's wife Carrie who is a keen environmentalist. She was not on board the flights
The prime minister is far from the first eco campaigner to be criticised for their use of private jets, after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were slammed for their excessive use of the gas-guzzling transport while lecturing about climate change.
The revelations are also likely to embarrass Johnson's wife Carrie who is a keen environmentalist. She was not on board the flights.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said it is important for party leaders to travel across the country within time constraints.
This week, Johnson unveiled his Net Zero strategy to turn Britain green by 2050 - but was warned by the Treasury that taxes and consumer costs could rise to cover the estimated £1trillion bill.
In a foreword, to the government document - titled Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener - Boris Johnson said the UK would 'lead the charge'
As well as clean flights, a shift to electric cars by 2035, and gas boilers out by 2030, there will be a focus on encouraging homeowners to be more environmentally-conscious.
That could include incentivising mortgage lenders to prioritise properties with better energy ratings.
In typically bullish style, Mr Johnson insisted that he is not afraid to 'lead the charge' - saying 'history has never been made by those who sit at the back of the class'.
He claimed that Russia and China are 'following our lead' - even though both Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are expected to snub the COP26 summit, where the premier wants world leaders to commit to slashing carbon emissions.
China has also announced plans to build more coal-fired power plants and increase oil and gas exploration in recent weeks, raising questions about how serious it is about green issues.
The government says that switching from fossil fuels to clean energy, including wind, new nuclear and emerging hydrogen technology, can ease the reliance on imports and protect families from price spikes. It says 440,000 'well-paid' jobs can be created over the next decade.
The Net Zero plan sets out a pathway for how various elements need to reduce their carbon emissions over the coming years
However, there are growing concerns from the Tory backbenches at the consequences of the push - which economists say is likely to cost £1trillion over 30 years, although the bill for dealing with climate change would almost certainly be higher.
Rishi Sunak's Treasury delivered a stark warning about the burden in a separate document, saying the transition will have 'material fiscal consequences'.
It acknowledged that the costs of global inaction on climate were greater than those of action, but the assessment said that the government must take into account 'wider long-run pressures to the public finances'.
The analysis pointed out that government subsidies such as those for electric cars tend to favour the wealthy, while piling on costs for poorer families.
They said the bill for improving insulation varies massively between properties, from a few hundred pounds to nearly £8,500 for 'non-standard dwellings'.
One chart flagged the huge range of possible outcomes from the Net Zero process - suggesting that heating, power and transport costs could rise from around £2,400 a year now to around £2,600 in 2050.
However, they could also fall to £1,800 at the optimistic end of the spectrum.
Boris's net zero blueprint (all 368 pages of it)
Boris Johnson's net zero strategy commits the UK to a raft of changes over the next two decades designed to make sure the UK does its bit for climate change.
Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, released today, runs to some 368 pages, setting out plans to green up every aspect of life.
Homes, vehicles, government buildings and even jobs themselves will have to meet environmental criteria that aids the target of net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century.
The document includes:
- Plans for a new £450 million three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme will see households offered grants of up to £5,000 for low-carbon heating systems so they cost the same as a gas boiler now.
- Additional £60million investment in 'heat pump innovation – making them beautiful, smaller, easier to install'
- All of the UK's electricity derived from low carbon sources by 2035
- Proposal to sign off the investment decision on a new large-scale nuclear plant by the end of this Parliament
- Setting targets for power suppliers to increase the number of energy meters in homes
- Domestic heat pumps, which use air or the earth's warmth to provide hot water, should be as affordable as gas equivalents by 2030. The Government wants 600,000 installed every year by 2028, with costs cut between 25 and 50 per cent by 2025
- No total ban on gas boilers from 2035 after a furious backlash from Tory MPs and homeowners. Instead, the Government has said it will set 'an ambition that by 2035, no new gas boilers will be sold'
- The Prime Minister pledges that British homeowners do not pay the price for going green. In his foreword to the report he says: 'We will make sure what you pay for green, clean electricity is competitive with carbon-laden gas, and with most of our electricity coming from the wind farms of the North Sea or state-of-the-art British nuclear reactors we will reduce our vulnerability to sudden price rises caused by fluctuating international fossil fuel markets'
- All road legal powered vehicles will have to be emission-free by 2040, including motorcycles, buses and lorries
- Funding of £2billion for walking and cycling plans, including building 'first hundreds, then thousands of miles of segregated cycle lane and more low-traffic neighbourhoods' under plans to make more half of all urban journeys on foot or bike by 2030